It had been 84 years ...
It certainly felt like 84, if not 840.
But it was actually just 100, and days not years — though for most of us, 100 days without any football is not something we have ever experienced because it’s not something that had ever occurred in our lifetimes. And that’s especially true for the players, most of whom have lived in football since an early age. For the rest of us, downtime was usually measured in weeks of international breaks, while the summers were always filled with major tournaments, preseason, or transfer rumors. Silly Season Never Sleeps, after all, though even that snoozed a bit during the pandemic.
But we are back! Football is back! And Chelsea will be back on Sunday.
Yesterday, the football-shaped void in our lives wasn’t quite filled with the two games on display, but they gave it a decent go.
Aston Villa and Sheffield United were up first, and the good news there is that Villa looked terrible so hopefully we will have no trouble with them on Sunday. Even better news was that Sheffield United were absolutely denied a good goal, which meant they they only moved up to sixth with the 0-0 draw, still four points behind us in fourth. (We have to watch the table again yay!)
Aston Villa goalkeeper Ørjan Nyland clearly carried the ball over his own goalline after getting bumped by one of his defenders, but in the process somehow managed to obscure all the angles of the Hawk-Eye goal line system. Apparently this has NEVER happened before in the Premier League’s implementation of the system — VAR didn’t know what to do either and whether to intervene. So Kepa, hopefully you were paying attention.
Here’s Hawk-Eye’s official tweet explaining the error, complete with some much needed lime light for the word “occlusion” outside of dentistry circles.
Hawk-Eye statement on the goal line incident during Aston Villa v Sheffield match this evening. pic.twitter.com/I2u5lqKMqe— Hawk-Eye Innovations (@Hawkeye_view) June 17, 2020
The second match of the day saw Manchester City run out easy and expected winners against Arsenal, 3-0, but the way Arsenal self-destructed was truly a sight for sore eyes and a real throwback to pre-pandemic days.
Two early injuries for the Gunners was unfortunate, especially as the second of which saw the arrival of David Luiz onto the scene. Just 40 minutes later, which included a 15-minute half-time break, the former Chelsea man was heading for an early exit after a straight red car for hauling down Riyad Mahrez from behind. By then, David Luiz had also been responsible for the game’s first goal by misplaying and miscontrolling an easy ball to leave Raheem Sterling with a wide open chance to blast past Bernd Leno.
And David wasn’t done making headlines yet, as he requested an interview with Sky Sports to talk about ... his contract? Oh David...
And if video replay controversies and David Luiz shenanigans weren’t enough to create an atmosphere of familiarity, we also had some fake crowd noise — though only on the television broadcast, not in the stadiums.
It was mostly generic with a few team-specific chants, and could certainly be a lot more dynamic in reacting to actual things on the pitch — I want jeers next time someone tries a trick and falls over — but it was a decent effort. When only having the game on as background entertainment, the noise was adding comfort, while when paying close attention to the ball, the fans would fade away anyway in the periphery and only their noise would remain. Time to polish up those resumes for Crowd Noise Operators!
And if we want an obvious joke, it was a better atmosphere than ever heard before at the Etihad. BOOM! Roasted.